Homebound and need a COVID-19 vaccine?
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Early on in the pandemic, the state prioritized efforts to vaccinate homebound seniors in the comfort of their own homes.
Now a couple – unable to go out and get the booster – is getting the runaround on what they’re supposed to do.
Stephen Bodine is taking every precaution – wearing gloves, a mask and keeping his distance. KOB 4 spoke with him over the phone.
“I’ve been locked in the house for two years,” Bodine said. “I would really like to get out of here, every now and then, and just go for a ride. But I’m extremely immunocompromised.”
He has sarcoidosis – a disease that, in his case, attacks his organs including his lungs. His doctor told him to quarantine in 2019 for the flu. Well, that quarantine never ended, as fears of COVID replaced it.
Bodine and his wife have been forced to create a sort of barrier to the outside world.
“I’m on hospice care and my doctor was able to arrange my first vaccine,” Bodine said.
He and his wife were fully vaccinated in April. Now, health officials said it’s time for boosters. But they still haven’t gotten any answers on what to do since they’re homebound.
“It just goes around and around and around, never stops,” said Bodine.
Officials with the state’s Aging and Long Term Services Department said they do have a homebound program accessible though the NMDOH hotline. It’s a small program through the EMS Bureau they’re looking to expand.
If a person is homebound due to a medical condition or disability and would like an additional dose or booster, they can call the NMDOH hotline at 1-855-600-3453 and choose option number 3, according to a spokesperson from the Aging Long Term Services Department. They sent a statement:
“A clinician with the hotline will take down their information and get it passed over to the homebound team. Callers should be aware that the hotline answering service will take a message and they will receive a return call. That call may come from a blocked or unlisted number because of the way our system appears on some phones, so they should pick up anyway.
It is also important to know that we are trying to balance this vaccination effort with other critical vaccination priorities for underserved communities as well as a high demand on EMS services due to the hospital system burden at the moment, so there is currently a bit of a wait for these services; we are working to add vaccinators and administrative staff so this wait time is decreased.”